Wednesday, April 02, 2014

That Takes Me Back

I was recently asked by the Council to sign a notice requiring the removal of vehicles and caravans from privately owned land in the Borough. The Council's officer gave evidence on oath to substantiate his Information and after a few questions we said that we were satisfied. So far, so simple, but I was reminded that it is a good ten years since I last dealt with one of these applications.

Back then, we were regularly asked for summonses that, if granted, would be taped to the vehicles and caravans that were illegally sited. It was almost unknown for anyone to turn up next day in response to the summons, so an order would be made that authorised the Council to tow away the offending wheels. The owners would then slip quietly away before the deadline.

Just once, we had two travellers turn up to the hearing. They were two young women, one cradling a small baby. I explained that if the Council's application was in order we would be obliged to grant it, but that we would listen to anything that they wanted to say. It turned out that the one with the baby had recently arrived in the Borough, heavily pregnant, and was delivered of her child in the local hospital a few days later (thus putting herself at the head of the queue for housing).

"I can't see the problem" she said in a soft brogue "All we want is a house or a flat".

She almost certainly got one.


  1. It's a journey into Tommy Cooper country, isn't it?

    "Just like that"

  2. This counters with my (rather limited) understanding of traveller custom. It would seem that, except possibly for a short lying-in, one would not want "a house or a flat."

    For how short a term would council housing thus be provided?

    1. 90% of gypsies and travellers now live in houses. People's perceptions are somewhat different to the reality.



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